The association between changes in skin echogenicity and the fibroblast production of biglycan and versican in systemic sclerosis

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Abstract

Objective To investigate a possible association between the longitudinal changes in skin involvement and the fibroblast production of proteoglycans in vitro, among patients with early and untreated systemic sclerosis (SSc). Methods In 11 patients, 6 with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (dSSc) and 5 with limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis (lSSc), and in 6 controls skin thickness and skin echogenicity, of the forearm was measured by high frequency (20 MHz) ultrasound, A skin biopsy was taken from the area of the ultrasound measurements, and from cultivated fibroblasts the production of the proteoglycans versican, perlecan, biglycan and decorin were measured. To investigate longitudinal changes in skin involvement, the ultrasound examination was repeated after 1-3 years. Results Compared to controls, SSc Patients had increased skin thickness at the first evaluation. Patients with dSSc had lower skin echogenicity than both patients with ISSc and the controls. Patients with greater changes in skin thickness and skin echogenicity produced more versican, whereas the production of biglycan and decorin was higher only, in patients with greater changes in skin echogenicity. There was a negative correlation between fibroblast production of biglycan and disease duration. Conclusion High fibroblast synthesis of the proteoglycans versican and biglycan is associated with changes in skin echogenicity and may predict more progressive skin sclerosis in SSc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-308
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Volume20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity

Free keywords

  • ultrasound
  • systemic sclerosis
  • biglycan
  • versican

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